Saanich Police remain silent about key details concerning a former Saanich police officer, who was the subject of 15 separate misconduct allegations that were substantiated following an investigation by Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC).
Eleven of those substantiated allegations relate to what the reports calls an “inappropriate” relationship with a sex worker, while the remaining allegations concern the misappropriation money seized from a confidential informant.
While the report details the various allegations against the Saanich police officer in some specificity, it does not reveal the gender or duties of the officer.
Sgt. Jereme Leslie did not respond to specific questions concerning the name of the officer, the officer’s tenure and duties with the Saanich Police department, and the impact of his actions on the morale of the department and investigations. He also did not answer questions concerning the officer’s pension.
Leslie, however, revealed the rank of the officer as a constable.
Of the two files opened against the officer, the arguably more serious one concerned the officer’s relationship with a sex worker.
Following a report of a domestic assault, sexual assault and robbery of the sex worker on Jan. 2, 2015, the officer was found to have failed to conduct an adequate investigation and then filed a false or misleading investigative report and made false or misleading radio broadcasts related to the investigation. The officer also allegedly sent and received sexual text messages and images to and from the victim among other forms of misconduct.
“When the initial allegations came forward, we took immediate action by removing the officer from operational duties and the former officer was subsequently suspended,” Leslie said. “We also immediately notified the OPCC and requested their oversight. As the allegations were significant and potentially criminal in nature, we co-ordinated investigative efforts with the BC Prosecution Service.”
After reviewing the criminal investigation, Crown Counsel did not approve charges. During that investigation, the Police Act proceedings were suspended but were resumed after that decision. During the Police Act investigation, the officer resigned and chose not to participate in the disciplinary proceedings.
The officer’s conduct in relation to these allegations was found by the OPCC’s report to be “inexcusable and put the public at risk, the public’s confidence in the Saanich police at risk, the reputation of the Saanich police at risk and, in their totality, were grounds for dismissal.”
Leslie said the Saanich Police Department is proud of its culture of service, has deeply entrenched values, and clear expectations of conduct.
“There are policies to guide our conduct and the conduct of this former officer completely disregarded our expectations and were blatant violations of our policies,” he said. “The women and men of the Saanich Police Department are committed to our values and the community. We remain dedicated to earning and maintaining public trust through transparency, accountability, professionalism, and by being responsive to our community’s needs.”
The office of the Police Board as well Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes, who chairs the body, did not respond to requests for comment. The story will be updated if their comments become available.
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